Milwaukee/Racine/SE Wisconsin Area - Nice bike ride with kids?
July 27, 2018 7:40 AM   Subscribe

Milwaukee/Racine/SE Wisconsin - Looking for a nice bike ride of about ~10-15 miles suitable for a family with kids.

Do you have a favorite ride in SE Wisconsin of about ~10-15 miles that would be suitable for kids 8-12? The kids are good for that distance, although slow. We would be driving up from Chicago. Would like some nature/lake scenery, would be fun to hit an area like the Third Ward in Milwaukee for a bite, would be fun to explore the lakefront perhaps in/around Racine . . . have a bunch of vague ideas but no real plan. We can handle some car traffic but would prefer to be off heavy traffic roads for the most part. I've looked at bike maps but hard to get a good sense. What's a great ride?
posted by Mid to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Check out the Oak Leaf Trail. It's mostly rail trail as you head north, with a nice southern terminus at the very very worthwhile MKE Art Museum. It's not spectacular, but very doable and moderately scenic, along the river and lake and decidedly chill.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:55 AM on July 27, 2018

The Racine County Bike Trail (called the North Shore Trail here and here) starts at about 16th and West Blvd. in Racine and heads south into Kenosha County, where it hooks up with the Kenosha County Trail. It's a paved/gravel bike trail and crosses a few intersections. Once you get south of KR (the Racine/Kenosha county border) it's pretty and wooded for a while before it heads into the city and (I think) down to the lakefront. I remember it being pretty nice. It might be further south and west than what you were thinking, but overall, it's a nice ride.

On the other hand, you have the added value of riding behind not one but TWO of the houses I grew up in.
posted by elmer benson at 10:42 AM on July 27, 2018

Seconding the Oak Leaf Trail. Either start at the art museum and head north, or start at South Shore Park (in the Bay View neighborhood, where you can find places to eat) and head south. To get between the museum and South Shore Park, you have to be on roads mostly, which you probably don't want to do with kids.

There's also the Hank Aaron State Trail, which you could pick up at the Harley museum, which is close to the Third Ward. But that runs through a somewhat industrial area for the first few miles, so you won't get the scenery from the lake and wooded areas by the Oak Leaf Trail.
posted by crLLC at 11:22 AM on July 27, 2018

I'll second going south on the Oak Leaf from South Shore Park. You're by the lake for part of the time and the trail is very safe and family friendly.

As a bonus, on Saturday mornings there is a farmer's market there where you can purchase good food to fuel up for your ride. IMHO, it's the best farmer's market in Milwaukee.
posted by Fister Roboto at 2:22 PM on July 27, 2018

I used to commute by bike from near UWM to MATC in West Allis. There's the Urban Ecology Center along the Oakleaf Trail and Hank Aaron State Trail, the Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World Museum along the Oakleaf on the lakefront (with the tall ship, the Denis Sullivan), and Lakeshore State Park right there, too. There's Purple Door ice cream by the connection to the Hank Aaron trail, and the Hank Aaron goes right by the Domes, as well as the Brewers stadium and the state fair park as you head west.
posted by abeja bicicleta at 6:23 AM on July 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Nothing Oak Leaf - gorgeous scenery and if you want, you could plan to end or stop over at the Estrabrook Park Biergarten which overlooks a gorgeous river bluff (and which serves tasty food and is fun and family-friendly even if you don't want to actually imbibe).
posted by augustimagination at 10:22 AM on July 28, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks - these are great suggestions. I meant to go today but instead we did ~15 miles along the North Canal path in Chicago, which was great. We will hit the Oak Leaf for sure when we get up early enough for the drive.
posted by Mid at 5:01 PM on July 28, 2018

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